Out-relief continued to be provided under the new system in Hereford and for a while parish officers were still allowed to administer poor relief, but soon all paupers were to be classified and sent to the workhouse.
In 1837, a notice was sent out that all out-relief would be stopped unless the applicants could fulfil certain conditions. A successful applicant for out-relief had to prove that they were over 60 years of age, that they had no property or relations to maintain them and that their health made them unfit for work. This was known as The Workhouse Test. Anyone who could not fulfil all these criteria would be sent to the workhouse.
Those occupying the parish poor houses at this time were given notice to quit and many of the buildings were sold off to pay for the new Union Workhouses.
In the years to come the Guardians tried to persuade the Commissioner to allow them to use out-relief at times of severe famine or harsh winters, so as to stop the overcrowding of the workhouse, but they were usually refused. In 1846, during the potato famine, the guardians were granted permission to give out-relief.
[Original author: Miranda Greene, 2003]